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Balancing Competing Demands: Position-Taking and Election Proximity in the European Parliament

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  • Rene Lindstadt, Jonathan B. Slapin & Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Abstract

Parties value unity, yet, members of parliament face competing demands, giving them incentives to deviate from the party. For members of the European Parliament (MEPs), these competing demands are national party and European party group pressures. Here, we look at how MEPs respond to those competing demands. We examine ideological shifts within a single parliamentary term to assess how European Parliament (EP) election proximity a ects party group cohesion. Our formal model of legislative behavior with multiple principals yields the following hypothesis: When EP elections are proximate, national party delegations shift toward national party positions, thus weakening EP party group cohesion. For our empirical test, we analyze roll call data from the fth EP (1999-2004) using Bayesian item response models. We nd signi cant movement among national party delegations as EP elections approach, which is consistent with our theoretical model, but surprising given the existing literature on EP elections as second-order contests.

Suggested Citation

  • Rene Lindstadt, Jonathan B. Slapin & Ryan J. Vander Wielen, 2009. "Balancing Competing Demands: Position-Taking and Election Proximity in the European Parliament," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp295, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp295
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    1. Hobolt, Sara B. & Spoon, Jae-Jae & Tilley, James, 2009. "A Vote Against Europe? Explaining Defection at the 1999 and 2004 European Parliament Elections," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(01), pages 93-115, January.
    2. Carrubba, Clifford J. & Gabel, Matthew & Murrah, Lacey & Clough, Ryan & Montgomery, Elizabeth & Schambach, Rebecca, 2006. "Off the Record: Unrecorded Legislative Votes, Selection Bias and Roll-Call Vote Analysis," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(04), pages 691-704, October.
    3. Jeong-Hun Han, 2007. "Analysing Roll Calls of the European Parliament," European Union Politics, , vol. 8(4), pages 479-507, December.
    4. Abdul Ghafar Noury & Simon Hix & Gérard Roland, 2005. "Power to parties: cohesion and competition in the European Parliament 1979-2001," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7752, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Abdul Ghafar Noury & Simon Hix & Gérard Roland, 2007. "Democratic politics in the European Parliament," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7744, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Marsh, Michael, 1998. "Testing the Second-Order Election Model after Four European Elections," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 591-607, October.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:128-142_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hix, Simon & Noury, Abdul & Roland, G Rard, 2005. "Power to the Parties: Cohesion and Competition in the European Parliament, 1979 2001," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 209-234, April.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:02:p:355-370_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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